“I’ll put the kettle on.”

If you’re a British-drama fan, as I am, you’ll recognize this phrase and smile. It seems as if no matter what’s happening in a British film or TV episode about family, business, or global drama, tea is the one constant that brings the scene back to focus, calms the nerves, and gives everyone concerned time to think.

Putting the kettle on signals an attempt at finding a solution to the current problem—no matter what’s happening, once those onscreen know the kettle is on, everyone’s nervous system begins to settle down, and there’s a feeling that all will, eventually, be right with the world.

That may be somewhat of a simplified example, and yet, is it? In a film or on TV, where problems on the whole get wrapped up pretty quickly, preparing tea seems to be a kind of shorthand for coming together to noodle out the conundrum or to just sit with one another in support.

Putting the kettle on signals an attempt at
finding a solution to the current problem —
no matter what’s happening…

In my own way, I guess that I’m trying to put a “Global Kettle” on for all of us. I want to give us a metaphorical moment to pause, waiting for the water to boil while in the meantime executing the soothing tasks of preparing the teapot and setting out the cups. How many cups do you think we’ll need for this current situation?

Well, just for now, let’s start with one actual cup of tea for you.

Allow the time in between the steeping and pouring to be that of breathing and sinking deeply into yourself. One of the beauties of tea is that it’s safe and neutral. It’s no accident that the Japanese have elevated its preparation into a ritual that verges on the spiritual.

When you’re pouring that hot liquid into your cup, your attention is focused, and you’re completely present, removed from all other situations. For that one moment, your mind is not wandering; you’re one with the action. With this moment of concentration, you’ve given yourself a reprieve from the constant chatter coming from inside your mind and from the outside world.

When I say, “chatter,” I mean the fear-based thinking that’s either being fed to you through your physical senses or brought up internally by your psyche as a means of release. A moment of reprieve from that outside noise means that you have a bit of time to make friends with your inner world.

Surprisingly, when monkey mind is tamed,
focused, and quiet, it has great energy and
power.

The outer chatter we’re all experiencing now is on a global scale, on a level that the Buddhists refer to as “monkey mind.” I see it as a state of being profoundly ungrounded. The trick of transcending monkey mind is to have the proper filter in place. To create such a filter, you need to find a stillness/mindfulness/meditation technique that works for you.

Here’s an excerpt from an article by Carolyn Rose Gimian: What is Monkey Mind

“Meditation is a vehicle to tame monkey mind. By sitting simply, being present, following our breath, and labeling our thoughts, we entice the monkey to come down from the trees and rest. It takes repeated effort, but eventually monkey mind calms down.”

Surprisingly, when monkey mind is tamed, focused, and quiet, it has great energy and power. Meditation teacher Chögyam Trungpa said that we might discover that the monkey is actually a gorilla—much more potent and expansive than we imagined. It might, in fact, be Buddhamind.

According to the latest brain research by Dr. Michael Gazzaniga, It’s also quite possible that the two halves of the brain can act independently, one side projecting fear and stress, and the other fully capable of making calm decisions and knowing that everything, on a deep level, is actually okay.

Perhaps the answer lies in offering your monkey mind and all of parts of your brain a cup of tea, knowing we WILL get through whatever this is together.

Many Blessings,

Melinda